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Cresson Lake Playhouse to present children’s production of ‘Alice in Wonderland’

May 2, 2011
By Kristy MacKaben

Join the adventures of "Alice in Wonderland" at Cresson Lake Playhouse May 7 and 13 for the 10th annual Children's Theatre Arts and Education production.

Based on the 1951 Disney film, "Alice in Wonderland" at the Cresson Lake Playhouse stars 30 local children for each production.

"It's like watching a bunch of young adults singing and dancing and enjoying the theater," director Holly Smith said. "And it supports the community."

Article Photos

Courtesy photos
The cast of Cresson Lake Playhouse’s Children’s Theatre Arts and Education production of “Alice in Wonderland” includes Myah Smith of Cresson as The White Rabbit.

About 95 kids auditioned and 60 were chosen for the two productions.

"I was looking for a lot of facial expression and animated body languages. The kids that stood out weren't shy off the bat. There's a lot of improvisation throughout the show and facial expression is important," said Smith, who teaches English and creative writing at Penn Cambria High School.

Smith co-directed "The Jungle Book" last year at the Cresson Lake Playhouse and was also involved in theater in high school and college.

Fact Box

If you go

What: "Alice in Wonderland," part of Cresson Lake Playhouse's Children's Theatre Arts and Education program

When: 4 and 6:30 p.m. May 7 and 13

Where: Cresson Lake Playhouse, 279 Shapiro Road, Loretto

Tickets: $7 for adults and $4 for children younger than 12; for tickets, call 472-4333 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, also available at the door

Working in children's theater is an ideal job for Smith, who said she loves children and children's theater. Another highlight is working with her children Myah, 10, who plays The White Rabbit, and Carter, 8, who plays The Cheshire Cat.

The kids enjoy acting, but they don't have aspirations to act professionally.

"I like being The White Rabbit because he's all like frantic and all peppy and jumpy, and that's just me," Myah said. "I like when I get up and I have a little dance and I can show off my moves. My dream is to be an Olympic gymnast, so I'm practicing my moves on stage."

Carter said he loves playing the part of the sneaky Cat.

"My mom wanted me to do it because I have a big smile. It's really fun and I meet a lot of friends," Carter said.

A lot of the actors are the same ages as Smith's children, but there are some high school students as well. The show, which is about an hour and 15 minutes, is perfect for children because there's a lot of action and music.

"Alice in Wonderland" is specifically geared to children, so there are no dark parts, like in the Lewis Carroll version.

"This is a musical version. It's such a fun show. It's very light. It's very entertaining," Elaine Mastalski, executive director of Cresson Lake Playhouse said.

According to a synopsis provided by Mastalski, the musical beings with Alice daydreaming while her sister Mathilda lectures from a book and children play games nearby. Suddenly a white rabbit scurries past Alice, who follows him to the edge of the hole. Alice jumps into the dark tunnel, encountering many strange creatures on the way down.

She lands in front of a talking door, which is too small for Alice. She drinks from a bottle, then eats a cookie, which makes her first shrink, then grow. She cries, and her tears make her shrink so she can swim through the keyhole. On the other side, Alice chases the white rabbit, races the Dodo bird, gets tied up with Tweedles, raps with a bubble-blowing caterpillar and beats The Queen of Hearts at her own game.

"It's just such a fun show and it seems to be a favorite," said Mastalski. "I think everyone will be entertained. It's live community theatre, and exposing kids to the arts at a young age helps them grow intellectually and socially. It's fun."



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